In Waves of Wealth and War, Ships are the primary units that execute the various strategies which Governors (players) may choose. Ships need Sailors to crew them in order to sail, and these able-bodied men may be hired at Port for a small price or acquired through the fortuitous roll of the Market Dice. Ships can also be lead by an Officer -- the individual in charge of the Ship who grants it a particular special ability. These Ships sail across the Great Sea and trade with the other Governors, filling their holds with Wealth which may be brought back home and used for all manner of things. They may also wage war, sinking the Ships of the enemy and plundering the Ports of other Governors.
There are seven different types of Ship which Governors may purchase or acquire with Market Dice. The smallest of these is the rugged Sloop, though its size is not so much a disadvantage as it is a defining (and incredibly useful) characteristic.
Each Governor starts the game with a Sloop at his or her dock. They cannot carry much wealth, sustain a lot of damage, or sink many ships, but they can turn the tide in a battle and are cheap to construct. They can be modified to carry Wealth in illegal compartments that make them ideal for smugglers, and the Sloops of War Ship Specialization can make them sturdy combatants.
Sloops have a Hold of 1, meaning they get to load up 1 Wealth every time they Dock at another Governor's Port. This is not particularly impressive on its own, but Sloops are affordable, and it is therefore easy to own many of them. They also grant the same amount of Tax Wealth to the Governor with whom they trade as any other Ship, making them valuable, non-threatening, bargaining pieces at any point in the game. It certainly feels a lot safer to have a Sloop Dock at your Port than a massive Galleon, brimming with guns. Also, the Master Treasurer political upgrade grants you bonus Wealth for each Ships that successfully returns to your port with Wealth, meaning that you can make twice as much money per venture that returns home safely. This makes Sloops a formidable and diplomatic Merchant Ship.
Sloops are not only useful for trade, however. They can be modified for war with the Sloops of War Ship Specialization, making them even cheaper to build and substantially harder to destroy. Their maneuverability is exploited to force the opponent to re-roll successful hits against them, and their low cost makes it possible to sail a veritable armada into battle with relative ease.
Last, but not least, Sloops can become elusive smuggling Ships, able to carry more Wealth in their efficient Smuggler's Holds and aid in the rapid accumulation of Black Market Empire Points, gaining victory by making their Governor the undisputed lord of the underworld.
Sloops may be the smallest of the Ships which Governors can sail the seas, but the wide array of strategies available to them makes them versatile and ensures that a Governor who chooses to purchase them will rarely be backed into a corner.
The next Ship in the line-up is the Pinnace, a light warship that can become a fearsome predator for prey of any size....